Intro to Wilderness Medicine

Alzar School | 04.09.12

The rescue team of Karley and Charlotte arrived on the scene to find Wesley face down in the river. Lexi and Katherine arrived at a similar scene, only their injured patient was Patrick. “Ahhhhhh,” Patrick screamed, “my knee!!!!” This was just one simulation that students faced last weekend during their Wilderness First Responder course. In this course students learned the principles of wilderness medicine and had the opportunity to practice their skills, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes in a safe environment.

On our very first scenario, Ines, in her rush to save injured Charlotte, found herself covered in fake blood and quickly learned the value of putting gloves on before administering care. Aaron fully appreciates the importance of smooth movements with a patient, after being forcefully and painfully pulled away from a table by Crosby and Grady. But with practice came notable improvements. Alec and Liam successfully stabilized Ines’s head and lowered her from a sitting to supine position for an easy evacuation.

Back at the river, Karley and Charlotte calmly put on gloves and surveyed the scene before approaching Wesley. Charlotte stabilized his head, while Karley rolled him over and determined he was breathing and had a pulse. “My knee!!!” Wesley yelled, but Karley was undeterred and prepared to move her patient out of the water to a safe location for treatment. In an impressive display of teamwork, Karley and Charlotte slowly dragged Wesley from the cold river while protecting his spinal cord from potential further injury. Once on dry land the girls, first checked for bleeding. In finding none, they moved on to the head-to-toe physical exam. That was when they noticed the fake bruising on Wesley’s back, indicating a more serious injury than his distractingly, painful knee. As Charlotte assessed the injuries, bandaged the knee, and prepared a SOAP note, Karley kept Wesley calm, maintained head stabilization and monitored his vital signs. Their final plan: level 2 evacuation, while continuing to monitor vitals and treatment.

This Wilderness First Responder seminar was the first of three instructional weekends as students earn their full certification. The course includes classroom and textual knowledge, action based scenarios, CPR training, online testing and practical assessments. Additionally, students are developing leadership skills as they direct their peers in providing aid. Not only will the Alzar School be a safer environment with so many trained responders, but when your students return home they will have the knowledge and training to help you should an emergency ever arise.

SJ Byce
Teaching Fellow

P.S. Check out the photos from our scenarios on the Facebook page in the 8/21-8/28 album. Be forewarned the images feature a unique combination of graphic imagery and smiling faces (possibly a side affect of using lots of fake blood). Enjoy!